We traveled back to Ohio last week to see our friends and family before school starts and the fall runs of cattle start coming in. My Mother In Law gave me a birthday gift and offered to babysit so that I could go and get a pedicure at the place she frequents.
I've only had a handful of pedicures in my life. Mostly because I find it awkward to make small talk with someone as they scrub dead skin off my feet and dig toe jam out of my nails. Obviously I am the only one who feels this way, because the line was out the door with women waiting to have this said experience. I had already called a half a dozen people to see if someone would join me. I thought maybe if I could talk to someone else it would be more fun. I was apparently the only one on vacation, as everyone was working. All my friends are hard workers.
After seeing two women who were there together for the experience almost brake out in a fight over some local political issue - I almost left. The only thing stopping me was that Jake had dropped me off.
It wasn't long and a nice Asian man called my name and my feet were soaking. I then find myself looking out a window where less than 12 years ago there was a Dairy Farm. I could picture the Dairy and Mr. Ety as if it was yesterday. Jake introduced me to him just before his farm sale. Jake waited that day to purchase an old scale cover from a Fairbanks and Morse scale that will soon be a conversation starter and decorative piece for our basement here in Nebraska.
The nice man was then back with his tool basket to scrub the nastiness off my feet. I am confident the only reason people sign up for this is because no one wants to clean their own feet. Last time I had a pedicure this lead to a discussion with the lady next to me about why my feet didn't have as much dead skin to scrape off. I told her it may be because I wear tube socks and boots year around.
Then the small talk started. The man was business smart, he wanted to know if I lived in the area. I am assuming to see if I would be a repeat customer. Smart man. I told him "no, just visiting".
"Where are you from", he says. "Nebraska", I answered.
"NEBRASKA, why are you here?" he almost yells. I then explained that we use to live here.
He began to tell a story about a friend that once moved from Ohio to California and then he didn't like it so he drove back. He was asking me about the smell in Nebraska. "What is that smell?", he asked. "I told him that is the smell of cattle." I sarcastically answer with, "don't you love it!" He laughed. He asked me "what is the state south of Nebraska, it smells too". I answered "you mean Kansas". He said, "yes, is that cattle too?".
He then asked "why did you move to Nebraska?". Which will be Chapter 12 in Jake and I's biography entitled Why The Hell Would You Move To Nebraska?. That will be the title because that is what I really feel like people have been asking us all these years. I followed this with because there are more cattle than people there and because people don't like "that smell", and it is easier to move away from the people to raise beef. He smiled. He said, "but that is really far." I laughed and said "well we didn't move in a Conestoga Wagon and we didn't have to fight off any Indians to get there". With a very straight face he asked, "there are Indians out there". Then I felt bad for my sarcasm for a second and told him I was joking.
I then changed the subject asking about if he ate beef and what his favorite cuts were. He was educated about the meat counter, for a consumer. His favorite cut is the Ribeye. He asked several questions about purchasing freezer beef and if it was cheaper and how big of a freezer he would need. The small talk had ended and he was now teaching me about Asian cooking. He asked me about Tripe. I said, I only know what Tripe is, but I don't know how to cook Tripe. He explained how he likes to cook it in stir fry. He explained how his family even cooked the lips. "Asians don't waste anything", he proudly announced. I smiled, thinking how proud you would be, to be able to say that about your country's people.